Curacao (Papiamento Korsou)


Curacao (Papiamento Korsou)
   The most populous of the three Leeward (Benedenwindse) Islands of the Netherlands Antilles, with some 150,000 inhabitants. The Dutch occupied the island in 1634, after a period of Spanish domination. Curacao became important for the Dutch because of its salt production and as a slave trading center. The English conquered the island twice during the Napoleonic era. Slavery was abolished on Curacao in 1863. The island has had limited self government within the framework of the Netherlands Antilles since 1954. Its capital, Willemstad, contains beautiful governmentbuildings and old colonial houses, though some of them were destroyed during the worker’s rising in 1969. The old city was named a United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage city in 1997. The current economy rests on tourism (mainly via Hato International Airport and cruise ships), oil refining, and bank ing activities. Papiamento is the native language of most of the inhabi tants, although Dutchis still used as the official language and is taught in schools. After Aruba obtained a separate status within the kingdom in 1986, discussions about the position of Curacao were intensified. In 2005, the majority voted for the option of becoming an independent part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, just as St. Maarten had done ear lier. This option will probably be implemented in December 2008.

Historical Dictionary of the Netherlands. . 2012.

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